RANAU 30 April 2012: The agricultural sector is in for a major boost with the upgrading of a road that leads to one of the most vibrant areas in the district here in Sabah.
The Kibbas-Lipasu gravel road, located halfway between Kundasang and Ranau, is to be tarred at a cost of RM10.4 million. Pix by Malai Rosmah Tuah
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin recently announced the approval of a project to tar the 4km-long Kibbas-Lipasu stretch at a cost of RM10.4 million.
Once tarred, the road will provide better access to the area, which has five villages with over 1,000 families and which are popular for their tobacco, rubber, vegetables and seasonal fruits.
The area is located halfway between Kundasang and Ranau, about 110km from Kota Kinabalu.
Roadside hawker Isah Api, 52, said the route had gradually improved over the years.
Long ago, the furthest village, Lipasu, could only be reached on foot. But now it is accessible through the gravel road.
"Still, it's not that easy because the route is dusty. When it rains heavily, it can only be used by four-wheel-drive vehicles or motorcycles. Even the ride there takes a long time because of the bumpy stretch," Isah said.
She said Lipasu was popular for its hand-rolled cigars and shredded tobacco while other villages such as Tamalang, Kibbas, Lipasu Baru and Runukan were popular for other agricultural products.
Teenage farmer Mohd Ariffin Muin said the road would help them deliver goods from the village interior to either Kundasang or Ranau faster.
"This will encourage more people to go into agriculture because there are still large tracts of fertile land in the villages," said Ariffin, who revealed that one of the hardest products to bring out were rubber sheets because of their weight.
There are not many villagers who own four-wheel drive vehicles or lorries, he said, adding many were dependent on the handful who owned such transportation.